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Jane Bates: does anybody care about nurses' health and well-being?

With a recent survey showing nurses are taking antidepressants and going on sick leave due to stress, Jane Bates asks if anybody cares enough to do something about the pressures they face. 
Unwell_nurse-iStock.jpg

With a recent survey showing nurses are taking antidepressants and going on sick leave due to stress, Jane Bates asks if anybody cares enough to do something about the pressures they face

The recent survey by Nursing Standard and the Sunday Mirror painted a depressing picture of working in today's NHS.

Of the 3,100 nurses who responded, more than half said they were considering quitting the health service as work pressures continued to mount, and 64% said morale was poor or at rock bottom. Nurses also reported going on sick leave due to stress and taking antidepressants.

These results are undoubtedly shocking, but does anyone care enough to tackle the problems? We

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With a recent survey showing nurses are taking antidepressants and going on sick leave due to stress, Jane Bates asks if anybody cares enough to do something about the pressures they face


In a recent survey of NHS nurses, 64% said morale was poor or at rock bottom. Picture: iStock

The recent survey by Nursing Standard and the Sunday Mirror painted a depressing picture of working in today's NHS. 

Of the 3,100 nurses who responded, more than half said they were considering quitting the health service as work pressures continued to mount, and 64% said morale was poor or at rock bottom. Nurses also reported going on sick leave due to stress and taking antidepressants. 

These results are undoubtedly shocking, but does anyone care enough to tackle the problems? We could take surveys until the next millennium to illustrate the pressures we are under, but if no one cares enough to do anything, what is the point? 

Unhelpful advice 

In the RCN publication Stress and You: A Guide for Nursing Staff, we are told to combat stress by eating well, taking exercise and avoiding stimulants. To say this is patronising is an understatement. 

Nurses are health professionals, we know what is good or bad for us, but when you reach that level of exhaustion, and not a drop of water has passed your lips for 12 hours, you are in no fit state to cook a meal or go for a bracing walk. 

The guide also recommends taking regular breaks, which would be great if we were actually able to do this. Most of the time, we struggle to get to the loo, because to leave the ward even for a few minutes would compromise patient safety. 

Nurses spend their working lives caring for other people, but it seems we are past caring for ourselves. Does anybody care? 


About the author 

 

 

 

Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 

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